Autumn Notes For Your Garden

As late autumn slides into early winter, go and enjoy your great outdoors
By Roger Fox
Photography Manuel Torres Garcia @Unsplash

A probiotic for your soil

If you’re after an instant way to regenerate your garden soil, check out Soilbiotic, from Harris Farm Markets, which is made by recycling their own food waste. Described as a ‘humus compost’, it has been specially formulated by Ylad Living Soils and is rich in beneficial organisms. It can be mixed into the soil, spread on top or added to potting mix, and is suitable for all plants, including native species.

Cyclamen colour

With their cute little butterfly-like flowers, cyclamen bring glowing colour to the cool months, both inside and out. They’re perfect flowering pot fillers – compact and smothered in blooms, ready to be slipped into any decorative containers you have to hand. You can position them outside to brighten up covered patios and verandahs, or inside as a living bunch of flowers. The colours range through shades of pink, cerise and red, as well as a pure crystal white, which looks especially striking against the grey-green marbled leaves.

Cyclamen can give you several months of continuous blooms, if you observe a couple of golden rules. Firstly, they hate heated rooms, so if you have them as indoor colour, always move them outside overnight. And secondly, when it comes to watering, let the soil dry out between applications – the crown of the plant can rot if they’re kept constantly soggy. The best way for you to water a cyclamen is to sit the pot in a shallow basin of water, so that it absorbs its moisture from beneath as it needs, by capillary action, and the crown stays dry.

Give growing garlic a go

Garlic is surprisingly easy to grow, and autumn plantings will give you a harvest by summer. Start by buying good quality bulbs from a nursery, separate them into cloves and plant each clove about 15cm apart in moist soil, adding a sprinkling of fertiliser. Once the plants sprout, water them regularly and feed them again in spring. You’ll know it’s time to harvest when the long slender leaves begin to yellow and die off over summer. Dig the bulbs up, brush off the soil, and hang the whole plant, leaves and all, to dry for two to three weeks in a shed or garage. When the skin of the bulb is dry and papery, they’re ready to use. Yum!


Late autumn and early winter are the last chance to plant flowers and vegetables for springtime. Opt for seedlings rather than seeds at this time of year as they’ll give you a headstart.

Asparagus crowns, broad beans, broccoli, lettuce, onions, peas, rhubarb, shallots and spinach.

English daisy, cineraria, lobelia, marigold, nemesia, pansy, poppy, primula, snapdragon, verbena, viola. Also plant out any flowering bulbs that have been chilling in the fridge, like tulips, daffodils, hyacinths and bluebells.

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